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Be aware of the risks of “take-home” toxic materials

| Jul 15, 2020 | Workers Compensation |

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports occupational health has transformed into a highly specialized field focused on detecting and eliminating chemical, physical, and biological hazards found in the workplace.

This is critically important in the era of COVID- 19.

At the core of this study, as well as workers’ compensation protections for employees, is distinguishing between work-related and non-work-related illnesses, injuries, and exposures in the workplace. However, experts say more must be done to identify toxic substances that workers can take home, creating further risk to themselves and their families.

Common take-home substances

Take-home exposure, also called domestic or secondary exposure, occurs when workers unknowingly transport dangerous materials home. These toxic substances can be passed to a family member through a hug, or to clothing through a washing machine. Many substances are dangerous, such as:

  • Asbestos
  • Beryllium
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Pesticides

The most worrisome take-home substance, at the present time, is the pathogen that permits the spread of COVID-19 to members of the family of essential workers.

Employers must educate workers about health risks

The CDC cites a recent article that calls on companies to place more emphasis on limiting workers’ exposure to  harmful chemicals and COVID- 19, educating  workers on steps to avoid taking toxic and harmful substances and diseases home. Research has demonstrated that vulnerable workers are most at risk – namely those who suffer from underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and high blood pressure.

Experts say these workers also include immigrants and contractors who fear losing their jobs if they complain or raise concerns about working conditions. Many of these workers often suffer from the overlapping conditions listed above, which increases their risk if exposed  to harmful substances.

Awareness is vital to protecting workers and their families

For workers who are exposed to any noxious or toxic or contagious substances, it’s critical to thoroughly wash exposed skin and leave contaminated clothing at work for cleaning. If you have been exposed to toxic substances or COVID- 19, and become ill, or if a family member suffers from secondary exposure, please contact the attorneys at the law firm of QuatriniRafferty for a free consultation. 888 534 6016